The Rapid City, South Dakota area has a lot to offer in ways of tourism. I have been there twice and would love to go back someday. There is quite a variety of places to see.
Probably the most famous attraction is Mt. Rushmore. You can also see Crazy Horse there, which is still under construction. It is really an amazing piece of history to see in person. It is open year round except for Christmas. There is no admission cost, but a $10.00 parking fee is required.
On the way to Mt. Rushmore you will find the Mt. Rushmore Black Hills Gold factory. They offer free tours so you can see and learn how the historic Black Hills Gold jewelry is made. You are offered factory direct prices.
Another must see is the gorgeous Black Hills National Forest. This forest covers over 1.25 million acres in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. There are 30 campgrounds located in the forest and 11 reservoirs that are stocked for sport fishing. If you enjoy hiking there are 450 miles of trails to more remote destinations.
If you want to travel a bit, while you are in the area, to the Black Hills of northeastern Wyoming you will find Devil’s Tower National Monument. It is considered a sacred place of worship to some. In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt named Devil’s Tower the first national monument. This monolith is 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River and was once covered beneath the earth’s surface until years of erosion stripped away layers of softer rock to reveal it.
If you enjoy reptiles you are luck with The Reptile Gardens. They have a huge collection of venomous snakes, along with alligators, crocodiles, Komodo Dragons, turtles, tortoises and a variety of birds. They have Galapagos tortoises that are believed to be several hundred years old. They also have shows to watch and minerals and fossils to view.
If reptiles are not for you then they also have Bear Country. This park is home to such animals as elk, buffalo, cougars, wolves, coyotes and bears of course. There is a 3-mile drive through this wildlife park with a place to walk through called Babyland. In this area you can see bear cubs and other small animals playing. You can visit their website www.bearcountryusa.com for admission prices and hours.
If you want a truly unique experience then you should visit The Cosmos. The Cosmos has been open since 1952. There are several demonstrations designed to boggle your mind from people changing heights on level platforms to water flowing uphill to sitting on a wall. It is a totally different universe there. They offer 30 minutes tours. Adults 12 and older are $9.50. Children 11 and under are free (when accompanied by their parent).
Finally there is the Watiki Water Park. This indoor water park is open year round. They feature 3 waterslides, a lazy river, baby pool, hot spa, water jungle gym and an arcade. Adjoined to the Watiki Water Park Resort are two hotels: La Quinta Inn & Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites.
Next time you are in the Rapid City, South Dakota area be sure to check out some of these great stops. There is something for everyone.